Friday, September 12, 2014
Today’s story is by Taylor Collins. Taylor is a college student, a dear friend, and a creative writer. I’ll title his story The Driving Range and God:
Golf club raised, arm straight, knees bent, stance square, eyes on the ball, I stood teed up. Hips leading, swing, “crack!,” follow through. What led up to this moment was just that—follow through. Hours ago my day had seemed stressful, hectic even, but something about standing out playing golf with a friend has the ability to melt all of it away.
My friend and I late in the afternoon had decided to hit the driving range for a few minutes. Being the golfer that he is, I figured he could give me a few pointers, and I, being a complete rookie, needed all the practice I could get. We took the time to drive to the local golf course, spent a few minutes talking here and there about our day, and then proceeded into the clubhouse for some tokens. This time was a bit different though. As we asked about getting some tokens, the cashier informed us that the range was closed for a tournament happening the next day. At that point I was discouraged. I had taken time out of my day with all the work and stress to come practice something I enjoyed and it was closed. I was ready to turn and leave to head back to what I knew awaited me, but then the cashier said something I never expected. “Well, since the range is closed, you guys could go play a couple of holes for free if you like.” My face must have dropped, because my friend looked at me puzzled. I had never expected to go play. I was content to just practice. I enjoyed that enough.
But we said thank you and went out to tee up the first hole. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous playing without having warmed up at the range first. I had never played without it. My friend set the ball on the tee, put his body in the right stance, pulled back his driver, and crushed the ball. “That’s at least 300 yards!” Then it was my turn. Because my friend was particular about his driver, and because I was in turn borrowing his clubs to play, I pulled out his 3 wood. I teed up the ball, put my body in stance, pulled back, and crushed the ball. “That’s maybe 250 yards!” I couldn’t believe I had hit the ball so well. We finished up the first hole, my friend with par and I with bogey, because my putting needs work, and we walked to the next. This time my friend made me tee off first. I was wary, both because I had never teed off from the back tee and because he was expecting something along the lines of my first shot. I teed up the ball, put my body in stance, pulled back, and followed through.
This time I hit the ball further than the first. “Woah! That’s like 280 yards!” That’s the farthest I had ever hit the ball. My friend teed off and essentially replicated the same shot. When we walked down to our shots, he was 10 yards ahead of me and both of us were 15 yards from the pin. My friend walked over and gave me a pat on the back. “You’re playing great!” I looked at him with some disbelief. “I’ve never played this good in my life.” It was in this time I experienced a deep joy. I knew it was God allowing me to enjoy this time. I looked up and simply said “Thank you.” There was nothing in my mind on the way to the golf course that would have given me the feeling something great would happen, but it did. Something great came out of an unexpected experience.
The day began with hopeful expectation, expectation that God would be with me and that He would work in me. As a college student it is often difficult to see within the present. It is difficult to trust that there are things going on outside control. Certain small things we hold on to like going to class and doing our homework, things like eating lunch and taking a nap. But the real beauty of the day comes with the relinquishing of control to one more infinitely wise. Expectation precedes reality in our mind, but shouldn’t a more true reality precede our expectation as believers? The reality that we follow a God infinitely more powerful and Loving than we really understand, who cares deeply about both big and seemingly insignificant. I went to the golf course expecting to train, but instead I received something better, unexpected but better. And I think often the Christian life is this way. God urges us to put our agenda to death and follow after His. We think that means sacrifice of all good things, but rather it is trading what we think to be good for what is infinitely better. So when you go throughout your day, and mind the metaphor, go to the driving range because we all need practice and discipline to understand this game called faith, but be expectant for God to surprise you. He is faithful. He is good. But most importantly He is love.
Thank you, Taylor. Today I hope to pause and expect a few more of God’s surprises.
Along the way,
Pause: Read this poem from Taylor Collins, “Trust.”
I trust God
for the meaning
for the answers
for the timing
for the faith
to do all He says
and to be all He wants